He'd slept like shit. His boy hadn't been beside him — the first since he'd been a baby — and his mind wouldn't shut the fuck down.
Did he do the right thing?
Should he have let it go this far?
Why hadn't he stopped it sooner?
Why in the FUCK had he sucked his son's cock? And fucking swallowed his own kid's cum?
And let's not fucking forget — that was at someone else's house.
Sterling scrubbed his hands over his face. "Goddammit," he muttered. He really did need help.
"You're my always everything." He heard his boy's voice so clearly in his head.
He saw his face, those light blue eyes, that scrunched nose, those pink lips, that light brown hair that stuck up naturally — all of it he saw like Aubrey was standing in front of him. He knew every detail of his son. He knew there was a freckle behind his left ear and there was another one on the lobe of his right ear. Since the day he had been born, he'd had a light brown patch on his left hip. And now he knew even more about his sixteen year old son. He knew his cut cock was a shade darker than the rest of his fair skin. The tip was dark pink and glistened with precum when he was aroused.
Sterling groaned and fell back on his bed. "Jesus Christ," he mumbled as he stared at the ceiling.
Where the fuck did he go from here? How did you love your son, with everything you had, then realize you loved him as more than just your son? When your own flesh and blood was your perfect partner? Was your always everything? How the fuck did you come back from that?
Sterling was usually up by now. Normally, he'd be downstairs making bacon. Normally, he'd be listening to AC/DC. Normally, he'd be waiting for his son to wake up so they could have breakfast together.
He rolled his head on the pillow. Normally, his boy would be right beside him, sleeping soundly. Probably curled up against Sterling's side, his hair catching the few rays of sunshine that came through the gaps in the curtains.
He didn't want to think about Aubrey, but it seemed inevitable. Since the day his son was born, his life had revolved around his boy. He'd not been able to see him every day, but he'd made sure he was always available for him. And, if he was going to get really fucking honest with himself, it had gotten harder and harder the older Aubrey had become. He'd hated when his son wasn't there when he got home from work.
Was that...normal? He'd thought it was, but if it was, then why'd he suddenly developed...feelings for his own son? He kept trying to figure out where he went wrong.
"Goddamn," he sighed. It was useless, there weren't any answers. His whole life he'd been drifting along, waiting for the shit he'd been dealt to make sense.
Sterling smiled softly as he remembered the squishy little red face that had stared up at him. Aubrey had been the perfect light that he'd been searching for. He was just eighteen, a fuck up, a no body, but he'd been given the greatest gift a man could receive. A son.
For sixteen years he'd allowed his boy to define his life. He'd allowed him to be enough. But now? Now he needed to let go of him and figure his shit out. Because his life had taken a serious turn down fucked up lane, and he'd dragged Aubrey along with him.
And he couldn't ever forgive himself for that.
He'd hardly slept. He'd tossed and turned, his own bed not feeling like his own at all. It was too hard, then it was too soft. It was lacking a certain hard, warm body. The body of his dad.
Before he'd become his lover, he'd been his dad. The one person Aubrey could always count on. They'd never really argued and they'd never grown tired of each other. Their relationship — even before it became physical— had been a rare one. He knew most kids his age didn't have a good relationship with their parents.
Aubrey had never realized just how good he'd had it until it'd all gone away.
"I'm still your dad. I'll always be your dad." Aubrey closed his eyes as he heard his dad's voice in his head.
He knew that part was true. Nothing in this world could change the fact that Sterling Anderson was his biological father. But...Aubrey rolled over and hugged his pillow to his chest. He wanted more.
Since that day in the laundry room, when something had shifted between them, he had wanted it. Whatever it was. If it included his dad, then he wanted it.
Aubrey wasn't stupid, he could understand why this was so hard for his dad to accept, but at the same time, he was hurting. His dad was supposed to be one the person who would protect him; shield him from the shit that life would throw at him. Yet, here he was, hurting him by pulling away.
Aubrey knew his dad thought he was doing the right thing...but, what if the right thing was the one thing that the whole world condemned?
Sterling finally pulled his sorry ass from bed around 9:30. For him, that was late. He never slept pass 7:30.
His boy was already downstairs.
Sterling paused, mid step, when his eyes landed on his sleepy eyed son. His blue lounge pants were the same shade as his eyes and his white t-shirt was practically see through. All normal for his kid to wear, but this morning...nothing felt normal.
"Sleep all right?" He asked as he forced his feet to move down the rest of the stairs.
Aubrey didn't look up from the table as he said, "Like shit."
Sterling slowly padded into the kitchen. Usually, he just threw on some shorts and not much else in the mornings, but it was different now. So he'd put on black shorts and a gray t-shirt.
Silence, thick and heavy, filled the room. It had never been that way between them.
Awkwardly, Sterling opened the fridge and pulled out the bacon. He felt like a stranger in his own home. The easy banter he and Aubrey had always had now seemed a million miles away. The connection they'd always shared had suddenly vanished.
He couldn't help but feel responsible.
"How'd you sleep?" Aubrey asked quietly.
The silence returned, thicker and heavier. Sterling went on autopilot, frying the bacon and putting the bread in the toaster. He wiped the already clean black granite countertops; he opened the gray cabinets, looking for food he didn't need. He walked back to the stainless steel refrigerator and put the bacon back. He checked the freezer. The ice needed to be refilled. He grabbed it, like it was his fucking salvation, and turned the kitchen sick on. He watched the water fill each little cube until it was overflowing, and then, he still watched it.
"What are you doing?" Aubrey said.
"I can see that. Why are you standing there letting the water run over?"
Shit, I don't know, probably because I know what my son tastes like now and my perverted self wants more. And for your protection, I need to stay the fuck away.
Sterling didn't say any of that. "I don't know," was his brilliant reply.
He shut the water off and focused harder than he needed to on putting the ice tray back in the freezer.
"Dad," Aubrey said softly.
"Breakfast almost ready." He slammed the freezer shut and walked back to the stove.
"Yeah, just a minute or two more." He took a plate down and pulled the bread from the toaster.
"Dad, I don't care about the food."
"Well, I'm fucking starving, so I'm ready to eat." Christ, he sounded like an idiot.
"Dad," Aubrey said from right behind him.
He froze as he felt the tips of Aubrey's fingers graze his shoulder.
"It's okay," his boy whispered.
Sterling moved the bacon off the burner, then slowly turned around. Aubrey stood there, close enough to touch. His blue eyes had purple circles around them and those pink lips were turned down. He didn't look anything like his usual self. And that broke Sterling's heart. His boy had always been happy, healthy, and fucking full of life. Now, he looked like he was two steps away from depression.
Fuck, could he not do anything right? How could he do this to his own kid?
"Dad, I don't want..." Aubrey glanced at the cabinets behind Sterling's head. "I don't want this," he motioned between them. "...to be weird." Aubrey looked him in the eyes. "I just want my dad."
Sterling swallowed hard. "I don't want to lose you."
Aubrey sadly shook his head. "No matter what happens, you'll never lose me." Then his boy was in his arms, hugging him tight. Sterling wrapped his arms around his back and rested his cheek on his son's hair. He breathed deeply of the scent that belonged to only Aubrey. It filled his lungs and calmed his racing thoughts. It soothed his sore heart and revived his soul.
"I'll always love you," he whispered into Aubrey's hair.
Aubrey rubbed his face against his chest and shuffled closer. "I love you too, Dad."
Sterling hoped that was enough.
"How about we go to the movies tonight?"
Aubrey glanced up from his history book. His dad was standing near the stairs, his bare feet shuffling awkwardly on the dark wood floor.
His dad had been trying to act normal all day, but Aubrey could tell he was feeling weird about everything that had happened.
"I thought you hated the movies?" He leaned back in his chair. He'd been sitting at the kitchen table for the past hour. He had a history paper due next week and he'd been working on it. There wasn't anything else happening this Saturday, so it seemed like a good time as any to get it done and out of the way.
"I wouldn't say I hate it, I just hate the stupid talking and laughing from the other people in the theater."
His mouth twitched as he remembered the last time they'd gone to the movie theater. "Well, there will be people there this time, I can guarantee that." He smirked at his dad. "And I don't think you can yell at them to shut the fuck up or get out."
His dad snorted. "They were repeating every fucking line before the people on the screen even said it." He shook his head. "Clearly those fuckers had seen the movie before and were being assholes and spoiling the movie for the rest of us."
Aubrey chuckled. "I think they were just die hard Star Wars fans."
"What the fuck ever, their asses needed to take their lack of a life somewhere else." His dad walked over and sat down in the other chair at the table. "That was a fucking bad experience."
Aubrey closed his textbook. "It was funny though."
His dad looked at him, one corner of his mouth tilting up. "It was pretty funny to see the shocked expression on their faces. I don't think they'd expected someone to call them out."
"You're definitely not everyone."
"Damn right I'm not."
Aubrey smiled. He wanted to spend time with his dad, just like they did nearly every weekend , but things were...weird. It was a strange feeling he had. It was heartbreak, but at the same time it wasn't. His dad was still here, he was still his father, and they were still able to see each other. Aubrey wasn't quite sure what to do with these emotions. He was confused and sad.
"So, what do you think? Wanna try the movie theater?" His dad tapped his fingers on the table between them.
"I guess we could. Or we could just watch something here."
"I thought it'd be good to get out of the house." He glanced at the clock on the oven. "We could get some dinner since it's already 5:30, then head to the movie theater."
Aubrey hadn't even realized it was that late. They'd done nothing all day but pretend things weren't awkward between them. His dad had spent a lot of time in his bedroom on his laptop. Aubrey had played on his phone, listened to music and then figured he'd get his homework for the weekend done.
"Sure, Dad, that sounds great."
"Good." His dad hit the table with his hands. "I'll go get ready then."
Aubrey followed him with eyes, all the way up the stairs until he was out of sight.
He'd not lost his dad, but he felt like he lost something just as painful. His best friend, his partner, and always everything.
He hadn't prepared himself for this. He didn't know what to do, and he really didn't think there was much he could do.
Maybe more time? He didn't know, and frankly, he was scared shitless of waiting. What if his dad went back to sleeping around with women? Or...what if he decided to explore this new found attraction to men?
Aubrey paled. Shit. How the hell was he was supposed to deal with that? He loved his dad, that'd never change, but now he was in love with him.
Fuck, this was complicated.
Sterling felt like he'd been avoiding his own son all day. And he hated it. First and foremost, Aubrey was his son. That would never change. No matter what they did or didn't do with their physical relationship, they would always be connected. He couldn't let that connection fade away.
He glanced at his boy out of the corner of his eye. Aubrey was staring out the passenger window of the truck.
He'd suggested dinner and a movie to get them out of the house. He hoped a change in scenery would break this fucking tension between them.
He scoffed to himself. He doubted dinner and a movie would cut this thick ass tension that had settled between them like a fucking chasm.
This is all your fault, you fucker.
He couldn't even argue with the voice in his head. It was all his fault. He was the adult here. He was the one that should’ve known better.
He pulled into the parking lot of Cheddar's.
Yeah, he was the adult, but his teenage son acted more responsible than he did. He still had no idea how he raised such a fucking amazing kid.
"Do you remember the first time we ate here?" Aubrey asked as they walked towards the restaurant.
Sterling shoved his hands in his shorts pockets. "Yeah, I do."
"You'd told the waitress it was my birthday and that I was the best kid in the world."
He felt a lump form in his throat. He tried to swallow, but couldn't quite manage it. He shifted his gaze to Aubrey. He was walking with his head lowered and his hands in his too tight jeans pockets. That hair of his was fucking perfect, just as it always was. The sun glinted off the golden strands. It made Sterling think of an angel; which was fucking ridiculous because he didn't believe in that shit.
"It's still true," he said roughly. He cleared his throat, trying to get the huge ass lump out of it.
Aubrey lifted his eyes and briefly made eye contact with him. "Thanks." His way too tempting pink lips curved upward. "I'm wondering if I shouldn't do something really bad to shake things up a bit."
"Don't even fucking think about it." He opened the door to Cheddar's, and as Aubrey went past him, he leaned down and whispered in his ear. "You're perfect just the way you are."
Sterling watched him for a second as he walked inside, then he let the door close behind him and followed after his son.
"You could have held the door for my wife," a cranky ass voice complained from behind him.
He turned around and saw a middle aged man holding the glass door open for his middle aged wife. They both glared at him.
"Oh I'm sorry, I didn't know I was supposed to be polite incarnate."
"Dad," Aubrey said under his breath.
"It's just common courtesy," the man grumbled. He and his wife were now inside and both were smoothing their bleached blond hair.
"Guess I got the short straw at birth in that department."
"Dad, do you have to?" Aubrey muttered, as he grabbed his hand. "Let's go."
"You've got to be the rudest person I've ever met," the man huffed, wrapping his arm around his wife.
Was he afraid he was going to jump on his wrinkly ass wife? Not likely.
"I didn't know you'd met everyone in the world. That's quite an achievement." He clapped his hands. "You should be proud of yourself."
"Is there a problem here, gentlemen?" The hostess smiled tightly at them, her gaze darting between Sterling and the older man.
"There is indeed!" The man straightened and drew his wife closer to his side. "This man right here is being rude."
"For the love of Christ, I was only responding to this man's comments, which, if I might add, were very offensive." He tried not to smirk.
Aubrey rolled his eyes.
"Offensive? I can't believe the gall of this man! If anyone was offensive it was this person right here."
"Gentlemen, I'm afraid I'm going to have ask you to please keep it down or leave." The hostess glanced at the other customers waiting for seats.
"We're fine," Aubrey said before either of them could speak up. "We'd like a table for two, please."
The hostess smiled uncertainly at him. "Of course."
Sterling smirked at the older man and his wife. They turned their noses up at him and breezed past him like they were the goddamn second coming of Christ.
"Two please," the man said.
"What a bunch of assholes," he muttered.
"Dad." Aubrey turned towards him and put his hands on his arms. "Can you just forget about it?"
He stared into his son's eyes. They were brighter tonight, probably because he had on a sky blue t-shirt. Damn, those eyes of his were so fucking blue. Not green or gold or dark blue, just bright—as—the—fucking—sky blue. They were so pure...just like his boy was.
"I have no idea where you came from."
Aubrey smirked. "Did you miss that class in school?"
He chuckled lightly. "I got the logistics of it, I just don't know how I got someone like you."
Aubrey's face dropped. He looked away.
"Follow me," the hostess said.
They followed her through the restaurant until they came to a small two person table. "Here you are. Your server will be with you shortly."
"Thanks," he murmured. He watched Aubrey sit.
"What's up?" He asked as he sat down and grabbed the menu.
"Why do you always do that?" Aubrey said.
"Talk about yourself that way. I don't think I ever noticed how much you talk bad about yourself until...well, until things...happened."
Sterling glanced up from his menu. "We both know I'm a fuck up, so what's the problem?"
Aubrey pursed his lips. "We don't know anything. That's you who feels you're such a horrible person."
He put the menu down. "Aubrey, I was a whore in middle school and high school. When I graduated not much changed. Your mom was one of the longest relationships I'd ever had, and that was only a little over a month. You're still a virgin and you want forever. You're not just looking for sex, you're looking for a connection. You're a good kid, I was a bad kid. I snuck out all the time, skipped school to smoke weed and fucked girls in the janitor's closet." He stared hard at his son. "You're everything I wasn't, and you're going to be more than what I am today. You're going places, whereas I'm still just a construction worker and will probably be till the day I die. Alone, with a six pack of beer."
Aubrey's eyes watered, but no tears fell. The broken expression on his face nearly made him want to take back everything he'd just said. But he couldn't. He had to get his boy to understand; to see what a screw up he really was. He couldn't allow Aubrey to become like him.
"Is that why you stopped things?" Aubrey whispered. "Because you have a low self-esteem?" He leaned on the table, those watery eyes focused on him.
"I don't have a low self-esteem. I'm just stating the truth."
Aubrey gave a humorless smile and shook his head. "No, Dad. You have a low self-esteem. In fact, I'd dare to say you hardly have one at all. It's amazing how little you think of yourself."
He sighed. "I'm not trying to convince you of my self-esteem, I'm just trying to get you to see that you're worth more than me." He swallowed. "You can do better than me."
Aubrey wiped his eyes. Now he looked angry. "I wish you'd shut the hell up with all that shit you love to sprout. Can we just have dinner? Can we just have a good time like we used to?" He sighed. "I don't know what happened to you, and I wish I knew how to fix it."
"See that's the problem right there. You don't need to fix anything. You're the kid. I'm the parent."
"You should not be taking care of me."
"Hello gentlemen, I'll be your server tonight. My name is Will."
He and Aubrey both glanced at the dark haired man next to their table.
"Can I start you off with a drink?"
"Two beers," Aubrey said.
Sterling narrowed his eyes at him.
"Ok, may I see some I.D. please?"
"I don't have it on me."
Sterling huffed. "One beer, and here's my I.D." He motioned to his son. "He'll have a water.
"I'll have a coke," Aubrey said.
"Okay, I'll be right back with your drinks," the server said.
"You're going to share your beer, aren't you?" Aubrey said when the server walked away.
"Don't you just take it when you want some?"
Aubrey's lips twitched. "I do."
They stared at each other. The noises of people talking and laughing, dishes clattering, and children complaining, felt far away.
"So, that's your problem?" Aubrey crossed his arms. "You think you don't take care of me?"
"Do you remember that time when I was six? I had come to your house after school one day because mom was going to be working late that night. I woke up in the middle of the night and puked all over your bed and you."
He chuckled. "Yeah I remember. That was some nasty shit."
"Do you remember what you did? You picked me up, puke was all over you and me, and you carried me to the bathroom. I was crying, and I threw up on you again before you could get me to the toilet. You just kept whispering in my ear that I was okay, that it would be okay."
He cleared his throat and tapped the table with his index finger. He did remember that night. His boy had been so sick and he'd been fucking scared out of his mind.
"You turned on the shower and got in with me, clothes and all. You held me as the water poured over us and carefully got me undressed. You washed me up, but then I threw up again."
Sterling felt heat behind his eyes.
"You just washed me again."
Sterling blinked several times. He was not going to fucking cry here.
"You put a towel on the floor in front of the toilet and went to change the sheets. You gave me some vitamin water and then picked me up and carried me back to your bed."
Shit, his eyes were tearing up.
"I puked twice more that night, and each time, you just whispered in my ear that I would be okay, that you were right there." Aubrey's voice broke. "And you never let me go, you held me in your arms all night long."
He licked his lips. "I remember."
The server brought their drinks. "Are you ready to order?"
"Not yet," Aubrey said without looking away from Sterling.
"I'll give you a few minutes and come back." The server walked away.
"Do you remember when I was ten and a kid at school had made fun of my clothes?"
He scrubbed his hands down his face. "Yeah, I remember that fucker."
Aubrey laughed lightly. "You told me he was jealous because I was so fucking good looking for a ten year old boy, then you took me to the mall."
"He was jealous, you've always been a good looking kid." He cringed. "But your mom did dress you like a fucking 80 year old priest."
Aubrey laughed. "Yeah, I remember. She'd called it 'classy'."
"Classy my ass, that was just sad to dress a ten year old like that."
"Mom was so mad when I came home with all this new clothes, but you'd just said, 'it's still following the dress code at school so he can wear it.'" Aubrey stared at him. "And I know you went to the principle."
He shrugged. "I did. No one's going to bully my son."
Aubrey reached across the table and put his hand on his. "Dad, you've always looked out for me. You've always been there, and you've always taken care of me."
He turned his hand over and squeezed his boy's. "You're not hard to care for."
"And you're not hard to love."
Aubrey watched his dad trying to hold back tears; he watched his Adam's apple bob as he swallowed over and over again. He watched as he ran his hands over his face and through his hair; traits he did when he was feeling overwhelmed.
He hated how his dad saw himself. And he hated that he'd stopped what was between them because he thought he was messing him up.
Aubrey loved his dad, he loved him in every way possible; the way you were supposed to love God. His mom had constantly told him that verse in the Bible, the one that commanded a person to love the Lord their God with all their heart, soul, mind, and strength.
He loved his dad that way. And he'd never give up on him.